My single greatest business achievement is my return client base. They all are of means, and they stick with me year after year even though they have lots of options and they are informed consumers. Their unwavering support means more to me than anything I could accomplish photographically. New photographers coming up are very talented and competition can be fierce. The fact that my clients stick with me keeps me going. It forces me to level up my craft, my product offerings, my marketing.
You have probably already figured it out. Gen Z is taking over, and they are not like their millennial predecessors. This is the first generation born with technology. They expect it to be everywhere and to always work. Where does that leave us as photographers and business owners? Welcome to the world of reinvention. Senior portraits are different than they were 20 years ago. Heck, they’re different than they were five years ago. The kids are different, their personalities are different and the final product is different. Below are some ideas for thriving with a new generation of seniors.
As a wedding photographer, you should be filling your calendar with free leads from fellow vendors. I mean, aren’t they grateful? Haven’t they seen all the amazing photos on your blog? Without your images, no one beyond the guest list would ever see the flowers, fashion and decor they create—at least not in the appealing and professional way you photograph them. If you want to get on a wedding planner’s good side, see your name on a venue’s referral list or even become the go-to personal photographer for wedding vendors everywhere, consider the following tips.
You read that title right. All other things equal, marketing is the reason I see most businesses fail. They ether don’t do it at all or, quite frankly, they suck at it. And no, running a Facebook Ad is not marketing. There are time-worn strategies that go into marketing. You don’t just do something and magic happens. You need a plan. You then must execute that plan. You then evaluate the results, make adjustments and re-execute your plan. Rinse and repeat.
For a long time I despised marketing because I did not have a strategy for our B2B video and photo company. Anything that I had tried, like posting on Facebook and Instagram or email marketing, did not seem to work for me. These strategies work when done well, but I did not figure them out and was getting frustrated. A mentor told me to look at my best clients—the 80/20 rule—and figure out the commonality between all of them. Were they all the same type of business? Did they all have the same product or service? Did they all find us through Google?
We’ve all been there. Things just aren’t working out. Jobs aren’t coming in. So you panic. You need work. You need to pay the rent. You need to keep your head above water. This is all about you, you, you. But it’s not about you. It’s all about them.
As a wedding photographer, social media is one of the strongest marketing and branding tools at our disposal. It’s also the most time-consuming task, taking us away from our passion of running our own photography business. It’s the end of engagement season, so marketing is a top priority for wedding photography businesses. Social media is where most newly engaged couples hang out digitally these days, but that’s not the only way to get in front of them. How can you make sure you’re doing your best job at marketing when everything keeps changing?
I have worked on fine-art nudes for the past two years. Not because we have a huge demand for it from clients, but because Alissa and I find it challenging and rewarding. This year, we will be introducing this type of portrait to our wedding clients. How will it go over? That has yet to be seen. I am hopeful that instead of the boudoir lingerie shots that are typical, this niche will allow us to yet again stand out from our competitors. Here are some tips for finding your niche in the beauty market.
It’s the slow season for many of you, so it’s a good time to build a stronger business and work hard to make 2019 your best year yet. Every year, business gets a little harder. It’s the natural progression of consumer trends, technology, marketing and business. While it’s getting tougher, there are also more tools to help you build your business and your brand.
How many times have you heard “You gotta fake it until you make it”? Want more clients? Simply tell the new client you are targeting that you’ve already worked with dozens of clients just like them. It’s been tossed around in my neck of the woods since the beginning of our business many years ago. And I’ve hated it since the first time I heard it.